8 DIY Dog House Ideas for Crafty Dog Parents | DIY Dog House

13 Minute Read
Updated July 22, 2022

Dog houses are more than just a way to protect your dog from the elements, they are a safe and private place for your dog to relax. Learn how to build your own DIY dog houses with the help of some very crafty people. 

In the wild, canines are den animals. They seek shelter within caves in the earth that they hollow out by digging. Within the seclusion and depth of the cavities, they raise their pups, huddle for warmth from the cold weather, and spend the night hours hiding from predators.

The instincts of your dog's ancestors are a part of the animal's DNA, and the domestic pooch feels secure in a den-like environment. You can recreate nature's lair for your four-legged friend by building a dog house.

This article will explore a few dog DIY house ideas that anyone can build with basic carpentry tools and supplies.

Building a dog house is a fun project for the whole family. Also, it doesn't have to cost a fortune. A good dog house requires keeping your furry buddy comfortable and provides safety from adverse weather conditions.

Does my Dog Need a Dog House?

Does your dog even need a dog house? That depends on your climate and how much time your dog spends outside. If your dog prefers hanging out in the backyard while you are gone to work, then a dog house might be just what he needs to stay comfortable and safe, even if the weather takes a turn.

To help you decide whether a dog house is worth it, take a look at these 3 benefits of dog houses:

1. Protection from the Weather

Heavy wind, rain, snow, and even too much sun on deck can be unpleasant and sometimes dangerous if your dog spends long periods of time outside. A well-built dog house will provide shade, protection, and even insulation to keep your dog from getting too cold, too hot, or too wet. 

You might not think of a dog house as a place to keep your dog cool on a hot day, but insulation works both ways. While a dog house won't help in times of extreme heat, with the help of another dog cooling gear, keep your dog safe from overheating and heatstroke. 

2. Comfort Zone

As natural den animals, dogs often seek out cave-like areas to relax in. It's not just about hiding, either. Dog houses can be a comfortable and safe space for your dog to relax, take a nap, or do solo activities like playing with chew toys. Anxious dogs may especially benefit from a die-dog house as it can provide a feeling of safety during storms or muffle some of the neighborhood noise.

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, you may wonder why dogs eat dirt, or how to keep dogs out of your garden. While a dog house won't be the only solution, having their own designated space may help relieve some of the underlying frustrations that contribute to these behaviors. 

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3. Keeps Your Dog Clean

Dog houses provide a clean space for your dog to chill out. Dirt, like in your garden, are often a desirable place for dogs looking for a cool area on a hot day. Your insulated dog house can break this inconvenient and messy habit. Another way your dog can get filthy is when wet weather creates mud.

Giving your dog an elevated place to lay will prevent him from lounging on the muddy ground and minimize the need for frequent dog grooming.

Does Your Cat Need a Cat House?

If you have a cat that loves to roam, then these simple DIY dog house plans below might come in handy for your feline friend too. Outdoor cats tend to come and go as they please, so having a safe haven from the weather will help to keep your cat safe and comfortable.

The benefits for cats are the same as they are for dogs. Cats need protection from the elements and a safe and comfortable space to relax just as much as your dog does. If you have both, they may even be close enough friends to share their outdoor abode. 

Simple DIY Dog Houses Plans


Before you start cutting, you'll need to know the basics of dog house construction adhesive so you can pick the style that best fits your pet's needs. Not everyone is a master carpenter, but if you have the tools, the time, and the right instructions, even our less-handy pet parents can build an amazing DIY dog house. 

Basic Dog House Design Tips

A basic DIY wooden dog house is the easiest and classic choice. It's usually ideal for dogs and doesn't require a degree in architectural engineering. Choose a sturdy shape and make sure it's appropriately sized for your pet.  

Here are a few standard principles when building a basic DIY wooden dog house:

    • A basic DIY dog house must always have a high enough floor above the ground to stop water from entering the structure. Also, you don't want the dog on cold ground (especially in the winter), so constructing the dog house with a floor plan will make it warmer and more secure.
    • Always construct the dog house to provide enough room for the pet to turn around and stand up. However, please don't make it too big because a smaller house is warmer and cozier. The dog's natural body heat can warm the space in most moderate winter temperatures.
    • Insulation is helpful for all seasons, not just winter. Insulation works by blocking the transfer of heat, both in and out, so while insulation is great for a winterized dog house to keep the heat in, it can also help to keep heat from the hot summer sun deck out.
    • Use wood treated with non-toxic sealants to provide a moisture-resistant barrier. This will keep the wood pieces from rotting when exposed to rain, snow, and ice. 
    • Choose the right wood for your climate. Some wood pallets may stand up better in your climate than others, so if you are looking to build a dog house that will stand the test of time, then make sure you find out what type of wood is best. 

If you want to learn how to make a basic dog house, check out Lowe's free DIY dog house plans, which outline the materials and step by step needed.

Now that you know the basics, here are some plans to help you get started on your dog’s new outdoor chill pad:

1. Simplest Dog House Plan

Another simple dog house build design plan set follows the standard A-Frame design and looks like a basic starter house. The house features simplicity and traditional lines. It is suitable for a large or small dog. You adjust the dimensions according to the size of your canine companion.

Many dog owners want to give their companion a little more room to stretch out and move around, but some might be short on space, so they want to keep things tight and compact. My Outdoor Plans offers free simple dog house blueprints for DIYers.

2. Pallet Dog House

If you want to construct a dog house on a shoestring budget, consider a pallet-free dog house plan. Pallets are a free source of wood. Businesses often give them away. You can easily use the word to create a basic dog house.

The only thing you'll need to purchase is plywood and paint or stain to protect the wood. If you seek a DIY tutorial, check out the free pallet dog house plan from DIY Crafts. 

3. Repurpose Dog House

One of the fun things about building a dog house is that you can think outside the box and repurpose everyday household items into a stylish and cheap abode for the pet. On Imgur, you'll find house ideas that outline how to create a trendy pet home using an old dining room table.

4. A Modern Flat Roof Dog House

If you live in a modern home, you might want to mimic Fido's dog house to match. On modern builds, you'll find free DIY dog house plans and videos for a modern dog house that features a door, windows, and a flat room. Paint the finished home any color you want and put a few finishing touches on the residence.

The free modern dog house plans are generous enough to hold two dogs or one enormous canine easily.

5. Mobile Dog House

A mobile dog house lets you move the dog's residence anywhere in the yard with ease. The entire project outlined on indestructibles.com takes only a couple of hours to complete. Fill the modern dog house with a blanket or dog bed. Fido won't mind if you move the house around as needed.

6. Winter Dog House Plans

If you live in a place that has harsh winters, then you'll want to consider winter dog house designs. At Instructables, there is a finished dog house plan for an insulated dog house for winter.

The dog house design is perfect for a dog's pooch. The plan provides you with photos and blueprints that outline the needed to construct the dog house. Best of all - the plan is entirely free.

You might wonder how to insulate a dog house in the winter. In the free outdoor dog house plan, they suggest using a blue insulating foam board.

7. DIY Igloo Dog House

If you have been researching dog house plans, you have probably noticed Igloo dog houses which are plastic pre-made dog houses constructed for areas with severe winters. Igloo building a dog house is not cheap, but crafty, and a patient can create their own igloo dog house using the simple DIY dog house plans on indestructables.com.

A commercial brand-name Igloo dog house is made from a sturdy foam material that offers insulative value. A DIY igloo build-a-dog house uses ferrocement, a dense cement and mortar compound that relies on a dense wire mesh to create the form of the home. When complete, the concrete material is at least an inch thick and provides ideal insulation.

The brand name Igloo dog house for winter comes complete with a flap. However, you can replicate the flap for your DIY Igloo dog house door.

At eHow, the materials list plans on a DIY Igloo dog house door that you can easily modify for use on any basic dog house or to use on your DIY options insulated structure.

8. Building A Winter Proof Dog House

If you are looking for other DIY winter dog house design ideas, check out Wilker Do, which offers free plans for building a winter-proof dog house.

Another DIY winter dog house design is a material listed on Do It Yourself. You'll find a plan for a heated dog house for winter to keep your furry friend warm.

Keeping a Dog House Warm In The Winter


After you have learned how to make a dog house for winter, it's time to consider different opinions besides insulation to keep the home's interior warm. Below, you'll find a few suggestions on keeping dog houses warm in winter with various commercial heating items.

Heated Kennel Mat

A commercial heated kennel mat is a great and affordable option. They can get quite pricy depending on the size but are totally worth it if your dog breeds spends a lot of time outside in the winter. The mats are like a large heating pads. You'll need to plug the mat into an electrical outlet.

If your dog chews, then an electrical mat might be a problem, and you'll need to think of a DIY way to protect the cord, such as running it through a PVC pipe. You can also place the mat under the crooked dog house floor if there is a nook where it is protected from getting wet but will still effectively warm the floor of the crooked dog house.

For a more budget-friendly option, Try a K&H Pet Bed Warmer. This handy device can easily be placed under or in your pet’s existing bed. They come in 4 different sizes to best suit your pallet dog house.

Heater Box or Heat Lamps

Another option to keep the crooked dog house warm in the winter is a heater box that mounts to the roof or wall. The heater box contains a ceramic emitter encased within the metal casing or a heat light bulb.

You can often find a heater box designed to keep a dog house warm even if the temperature dips below freezing. With a heater box, you'll want to take the same precautions as you would with the heating pad and make sure that the dog cannot chew on the cord or any of the electrical components of the box.

Heated Water Bowls

Keeping your dog hydrated is important no matter how cold it is outside. If you are sick of putting out fresh water every day just to have it freeze solid before your dog can drink it, then you need a heated water bowl.

A heated bowl, like this one from K&H, will keep the water from freezing so that your dog can have fresh, clean water all day, even in the heart of winter. It’s perfect for a winterized dog house or just the backyard.

Winter Gear

Though a crooked dog house can provide a good amount of protection from cold winter weather, in some extreme climates, it may not be quite enough. If your dog is spending time outside on a brisk winter day, then make sure they are properly clothed. Winter jackets or sweaters can add an extra layer of protection to keep your dog's core muscles warm. 

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Indoor Dog House

When you think of a dog house, you probably think of it in your backyard, right? But what about an indoor dog house? We don't mean the garage, or in a barn, either. Dogs who spend more time indoors than out can still benefit from the comfortable and private space of a dog house. 

In fact, crate training your dog is a common practice to help with separation anxiety and storm anxiety or for dogs that tend to get destructive when they are bored.

While a crate or kennel will be completely enclosed, lots of pet parents still use crates long after their dogs are properly trained by leaving the door open and letting the dog use the crate as a bedroom hangout. 

For something more aesthetically pleasing, building an indoor dog house might be just what your dog needs. Your dog can have the freedom to go in and out of his house as he pleases, and many dogs find it the perfect napping spot to get away from the sounds and porch lights of your home. 

Learning How to Make a Cheap Dog House


You can make an elaborate home for your canine, or you can learn how to make a dog house out of a box. Basically, you can pick as elaborate or simple of a design as your building skills and budget requires.

Many dog house plans are fully customizable, so you can make alterations to accommodate Fido's size or create a niche large enough for two pets.

The basics of a good dog house require that it keeps your pet comfortable and safe. If you live in an area prone to cold temperature dips or where possible dangers such as bears or wolves exist, then you'll want a secure house to keep your companion warm and safe.

A dog house in a tropical region should protect the pet from rain and wind while providing ventilation and shade during hot days.

With basic carpentry skills, you can create any of the above free DIY dog house plan. As seen in this article, you can even learn how to make a dog house out of a box. If you feel like you don't have the skills or time to complete a DIY dog house, then why not pursue a box dog house that requires only minimal assembly?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What is a dog house, and why is it important for my dog?

A dog house is a shelter designed for dogs to provide them with a safe and comfortable space outdoors. It protects them from harsh weather conditions and provides a place to rest and seek refuge.

How do I choose the right size dog house for my pet?

The ideal dog house size should allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Measure your dog's height, length, and width to choose a suitable dog house size

What materials are commonly used for dog houses?

Dog houses are often made from wood, plastic, or metal. The choice of material depends on factors like climate, your dog's size, and your personal preferences for maintenance and aesthetics. 

Should I insulate my dog's house for extreme temperatures?

Insulating a dog house can be beneficial in extreme weather conditions. It helps maintain a more comfortable temperature inside the house, keeping your dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

How should I maintain and clean my dog's house?

Regularly clean your dog's house by removing debris, washing bedding, and disinfecting surfaces. Check for any signs of damage or wear and tear, and make necessary repairs promptly.

Can I customize or decorate my dog's house?

Yes, you can customize your dog's house with decorations, paint, or modifications. However, ensure that any additions are dog-safe, free from toxins, and do not pose any hazards to your pet.

Written by

Homes Alive Pets


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